December 2021 AJ DeLeón

AJ DeLeón (CHI’15) has completed the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative – Education Scaling Program sponsored by the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) and the Latino Business Action Network (LBAN). He was also selected as valedictorian for the cohort.

Learn more about the initiative here.

June 2021 Dr. Lateshia Woodley

Dr. Lateshia Woodley (KC’20) has published her newest book, Navigating Life’s Sling Shots & Leading From Within, a project that was created out of the desire to bring awareness to the plight of women in leadership. Check it out here.

May 2021 AJ DeLeón

Innovare – Social Innovation Partners, founded by AJ DeLeón (CHI’15) through his Surge Fellowship Capstone project, has become a Google for Education Partner. Google for Education is a service that provides education-focused tools for educators, school leaders and students.

May 2021 Jordan Owens

Originating from her Surge Fellowship capstone project, Jordan Owens (CHI’19), recently introduced Msaada, an organization that supports the education, empowerment, access, and equity for parents and students within the special education process.

Msaada means “help” or “support” in Swahili, and Jordan shares more in this on-demand video on strategies for effective parent and student support and engagement by schools/districts in special education evaluation and service provision.

May 2021 Cescily Phillips

In a recent Kansas City Spotlight segment, KC STEM Alliance featured Inspired Aesthetics’ recent event, #RemakeDaysKCCHALK. The project came to life from Surge Alum and Founder/ED of Inspired Aesthetics, Cescily Phillips’ Freedom Dreams Project. Watch the full segment here and visit to learn more.

April 2021 Leslye Salinas

A leader who is deeply passionate about supporting community responsive services and access at school sites, Leslye Salinas (OAK’21) will complete her Doctorate in Education from the USC program in Organizational Change and Leadership in the coming weeks.

October 2020 DuJuan Smith

DuJuan Smith, 2015 Surge Chicago Alum, has successfully defended his dissertation, Black While Leading: Unmasking the Lived Experiences of Senior-Level Black Men Administrators at Historically White Institutions and earned his Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Higher Education/Higher Education Administration.

November 2020 Taica Hsu

2019 Surge Oakland Alum, Taica Hsu, was recently selected as part of The Roddenberry Foundation 2021 Fellowship. Launched in 2016, the Roddenberry Fellowship is a $1mil investment in the innovators, community leaders, and change-makers leading the efforts for a more just and equitable country.

November 2020 Derrick M. Fleming, Jr.

Initiated by 2020 Surge Chicago Alum Derrick M. Fleming, Jr., The #JUSTBE campaign. is meant to help dismantle current and historic systemic forms of oppression or indifference, foster anti-racism, eliminate hate, and activate individuals both personally and professionally to choose themselves and love themselves authentically, transparently, and honestly. 

For updates or inquiries about The JUST BE campaign. coming January 2021, visit

August 2020 Ulric Shannon

August 2020

2020 Surge Chicago Fellow Ulric Shannon has been accepted into the The Chicago Urban League’s IMPACT Leadership Development Program for emerging African-American Leaders in Chicago.